In a sweeping generalization, which I will subsequently withdraw from the table, I'll state that there are only two types of people: those who walk into a room confident they are the cleverest person there and those who do the same but assume they are the stupidest. Ok, it’s more complicated than that, but I’m guessing most of you are probably pumped to be in the second category, right? I know I think that way. I like to think that this attitude is helpful in what I do, as it makes me far more inclined to listen than to talk and to learn something that I didn’t previously know.
Of course, that’s where this system is a little stuck. For it to really work, it means that the cleverest people must outnumber the stupidest by such a colossal margin so that we can be constantly taught new things during each interaction. The fact that we pretty much all said we identify with the latter in the last paragraph suggests that the balance is out of whack.
So, let’s strike out that generalization and suggest another one, which might work better: We listen more closely to those who believe they are the cleverest person in the room than we do our own voices. When you’re reading about digital transformation, in general, the same thing is happening (and I guess the fact that I regularly write here on this subject automatically disqualifies me from my previous assertion of belonging in the stupidest group). However, aside from the ramblings about public transport, plumbing and cookies/biscuits, much of what I talk about here are generally accepted truisms: Work should be easier; technology should deliver something tangible for customers and employees alike; and that if everyone codes full time, then professional sports as we know it would cease to exist.
Now, I’m not going to pretend to know your business. I might understand how it works at a high level but not the real machinations of how your organization functions. What I have come to tell you—free of charge—is that you probably know 95% of what you need to know about how your organization should face the challenges presented by digital transformation. Now that doesn’t make things easy or pain-free. It doesn’t mean that there are not people to whom you’re going to want to refer to for help along the way for guidance, reassurance or review, but right now, you can all envision what the end result should look like, feel like and work like.
Instead, what we tend to do is listen to the clever people who tell us that drones, robots, virtual reality and self-driving vehicles are all coming for us, and because we over listen to those voices, all of the sudden, the future sounds unfamiliar and unmanageable. I’m going to go out on a ledge here and suggest that, in fact, none of those things are going to feature significantly in your working future if you’re in the world of work already, if ever. Instead, all those incremental changes that you know will fundamentally shift your organization toward what it can become are what you should be addressing. Now, all you’ve got to do is start listening to what you know to be true.
Matt Mullen is a senior analyst of social business for 451 Research, where some of his primary areas of focus are digital marketing and social media technology. Follow him on Twitter @MattMullenUK.